Challenger: June Job Reductions Down 12%

July 6, 2004 ( - Announced June job reductions fell 12% to 64,343 in June, the lowest figure since the 59,715 seen in June 2003, an outplacement firm announced.

The monthly report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. showed that June job cuts were down from the month before (73,368).  June 2004 was also 8% higher than the year-ago figure, the lowest job-cut month since November 2000.

In the April to June period, job cuts totaled 209,895, the lowest quarterly figure since the third quarter of 2000. The figure was 20% below the first quarter (262,840) and 24% lower than the second quarter of 2003 (274,737), according to the Challenger report.

The 472,735 job-cut total announced in the first half of the year is 25% uner the 630,532 cuts announced through the first six months of 2003. The heaviest job reductions in the first six months occurred in the financial sector, where employers announced 54,332 cuts.  It was followed by the industrial goods sector (49,481).  

Perhaps the most surprising development was in the telecommunications sector, which has been relatively quiet this year in terms of job cuts, Challenger said.  As of June it moved into the top five job-cutting industries of the year, ranking fifth with 39,049, slightly ahead of the 36,025 announced through June 2003.

Also monitored in the latest report were corporate
hiring plans – which Challenger began tracking in May. Those plans declined in June with 38,377 workers planned for additions, down 31% from May (55,307).   On a positive note, the computer industry announced plans to add 12,400 workers, nearly double the second-ranked transportation sector (6,500).

The Challenger report follows a U.S. Department of Labor report last week,
which showed non-farm payrolls grew by just 112,000 jobs, significantly lower than Wall Street analysts had expected.